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UNAVCO provides improved access to SAR satellite imagery

  • Based on the work of the UNAVCO Data Archive Team: Susanna Gross, Stuart Wier, Fran Boler, Scott Baker, Jon Davis, Matt Beldyk, Andy Gorman, Eddie Trochim, Stu Duncan, Jim Riley, and Lou Estey

Written by Celia Schiffman
16 November, 2012

Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR)

Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) images are created using radar to image the surface of the earth, and are increasingly being used by scientists to measure how things are moving in great detail throughout the world. SAR can be used to see how the earth’s surface moved due to an earthquake, groundwater movement, an expanding volcano, and anything else that causes movement of the surface of the earth.

SAR Archive

UNAVCO maintains a SAR archive for WInSAR members and other accredited SAR data users, providing search and discovery access. Until recently, access was spread across multiple interfaces. UNAVCO has now unified the interfaces, allowing researchers to search one database for all available imagery. The new SAR database with geospatial searches allows for more efficient searches and automated downloading, saving time and effort for researchers looking for SAR images.

The most prevalent application for SAR imagery is a technique called InSAR (interferometric SAR), where two or more SAR images acquired at different time periods are used to generate maps of surface displacement or topography. Using the differences in the phase of the radar waves, this technique can measure centimeter-scale changes is deformation related to natural hazards (for example earthquakes, volcanoes, and landslides) or the subsidence and stability of buildings and structures.

Access the Archive

UNAVCO publicly released the SAR project with the new database, new web presence, and new interfaces on 17 July 2012.

Launch the UNAVCO SAR Archive


Last modified: 2020-02-03  20:49:08  America/Denver